I’ve been thinking about the difference between an Urge to binge and a Desire to binge and that perhaps there’s a distinction we could make that would be useful when trying to understand bingeing behaviours.

I have known the Urge. It’s like a tsunami that if I tried to stand strong against it I would feel like the air was being squeezed from my lungs. It was a relentless tension that was ONLY relieved by bingeing.

The Desire felt different. It was soft and seductive; beckoning me onto the sofa and inviting me into unconsciousness. A warm enveloping hug that gave me temporary relief from my problems and the relentless itchiness of having to exist as me.

Both left me feeling sick, guilty and ashamed. Being taken over by Urges felt like a *real* eating disorder and surrendering to Desire felt like I was lazy and weak.

What about you?

If you reflect on your own experience of disordered eating, how often is your drive to overeat the result of an Urge vs Desire?

You may wonder why it matters. Maybe because there’s a difference in how you might approach an Urge vs a Desire. Urges in my mind are often, at least partially, driven by biology, whereas Desire leans more towards an emotional cause, perhaps a more existential crisis.

Urges could be triggered by restriction, anticipated restriction, dopamine cravings, blood sugar, ghrelin dysregulation, gut microbiome imbalances and other hormonal dysregulation. Desire could be about comfort, soothing, love, safety, stillness, reward, escape, wanting more stimulation or needing less stimulation.

We can reduce Urges through eating enough and regularly, including a variety of food, getting sleep, moving our bodies and resting too. If you want to understand your Desire though, that’s where you are called to dig deeper. What are your beliefs around yourself and your life? What are you ignoring that is calling for your attention and what are you over focusing on that could do with being left alone?

When I am feeling stuck I have often found that I am pouring my energy into the wrong places. If you are feeling exhausted and getting nowhere, perhaps you can relate. Our energy is a precious resource, so with the weekend looming perhaps you could ask yourself, what is the wisest way to spend my energy over the next couple of days?

If you want to understand more about binge eating and how to stop, you may want to check out my YouTube channel The Binge Eating Therapist.

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